Discussion > SHould editors give out their project files?


I have been editing for about 6 years now and recently a client asked me for the FCP project files for something I did that had people watching a greenscreen mock-movie theater. They said they wanted the files so they can drop in other videos on the screen. I think I should be getting paid for that work. I didn't have a contract, but the work for hire was ostensibly just the finished video. I also shot the footage.

What is customary in the industry? As a former professional photographer I never gave out negatives unless the client paid for them up front; that is absolutely standard practice there. Seems like the same for grpahic designers and musicians and other creatives. I can't see why Editing would be any different.

I'd be curious to hear what others do in this scenario.



April 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercinemaniac

A lot depends on what was in the original contract you signed. It helps to draft your own contract or read the one that is offered carefully. That being said what I write may or may not be relevant. I am not a lawyer, so anything I write should not be taken or construed as legal advice or judgment.

My understanding is that usually the client keeps all finished product - the video, and original files if they were provided or contracted for. So even if you shot it, but you were contracted to do that, the client owns the raw footage.

The scope of the "work for hire" is usually specified in the contract - so if it includes all project files the client gets those. If it does not - that creates a grey area that in my experience usually the creative or the contractee - you - would own and might use as a template with other footage for other clients or for paid updates to the original client.

This is where it does help to have an intellectual property lawyer go over a "standard contract template" for you, and help you define all areas of ownership up front. Up front definitions greatly help sort out later developments and requests.

This is based on my experience doing projects, reading other case studies and talking to people. I am not a lawyer, so anything I write should not be taken or construed as legal advice or judgment. You may also run into conflicts with clients from foreign countries or states which have different intellectual property values and obligations.

I noticed that a simple google of this term " reference for entertainment production contracts " brought up a wide variety of references.

For more wider comment from working pros I would recommend Cutter Talk - Please read the NETIQUETTE for posts. It is a private list of post production pros at all stages.

Join here

July 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercec